Rida T. Farouki
With the advent of a new millenium, it seems appropriate to begin with a brief historical perspective on a topic that entails a remarkable confluence of ideas spanning nearly 4000 years of geometry and algebra. Figure 17.1shows cuneiform tablet No. 322 in the Plimpton Collection of the Rare Book & Manuscript Library, Columbia University. This compilation of sexagecimal numbers, composed in the Old Babylonian Period (˜ 1900 to 1600 BC), was discovered in the 1920s and subsequently deciphered by Neugebauer and Sachs  in 1945. Far from being a mere financial or commercial record, the tablet reveals profound knowledge  of the fundamental characterization
Figure 17.1 ...